Friday, February 14, 2014

College Administrator Thinks A Sexual Assault Accusation is Enough to Warrant Expulsion

American colleges are animated by a disturbing hostility to the due process rights of young men accused of sexual assault. Usually, this hostility bubbles just beneath the surface, feigning interest in fairness. But more and more, it's become emboldened by efforts of the Department of Education to crack down on campus rape, and its been manifesting itself in more open, more blatant ways. This is one of those cases, and it's among the ugliest, most chilling we can recall.

This is from the news article where it appears:
Amanda Childress, Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinator at Dartmouth College, [said] campus policies aren't going far enough to protect students. "Why could we not expel a student based on an allegation?" Childress asked at the panel, before noting that while 2 to 8 percent of accusations are unfounded (but not necessarily intentionally false), 90 to 95 percent are unreported, committed by repeat offenders, and intentional. "It seems to me that we value fair and equitable processes more than we value the safety of our students. And higher education is not a right. Safety is a right. Higher education is a privilege."

A lawyer was present to call Childress on it: "I think the ability of our communities to rely on the processes on both sides of the equation is inextricably connected to a fair, equitable process that is thorough and based on evidence, not just conjecture, speculation and rumor," said Gina Smith, a partner at Pepper Hamilton Law Firm who consults with campuses on how best to address sexual assault and comply with federal laws. "We cannot in individual cases just punt to statistics."

Childress' assumption of guilt based on an accusation is something that would have resonated with the grinning mob at the hanging trees of the Old South.  The motivating impulse of the lynch mob was that rape was an offense so heinous, it demanded “instant and severe punishment” — vigilante justice — without waiting for due process. As one lynching apologist wrote in the New York Times, lynchings “are extraordinary measures demanded by extraordinary occasions.”  Underlying the defense of lynchings was the assumption that rape accusers were “victims” just because they said so. The hangman and his sympathizers had no doubts about the guilt of the men and boys hanged–“their guilt was clear in every instance,” clucked one writer. Another explained: “. . . the utmost care is taken to identify the criminal and only when his identity is beyond question is the execution ordered.” And: “As the most careful precautions are taken against this result it is not a likely thing lest the wrong man is executed.”

Like the hangman and his devotees of old, Amamda Childress assumes guilt on the basis of an accusation, presumably because rape happens too often.

That a prominent college puts someone with that view in a position of leadership is nothing short of appalling. Welcome to the American college campus, 2014, where the tyranny of political correctness trumps fairness.